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Would you be shocked if I told you that they are mounts for your car’s struts? But, let’s break that down a little bit further. Struts are a part of your car’s suspension. They move up and down, absorbing some of the shock from the road, and keeping it from damaging your car, or making its way back to you. Pretty important stuff, that you’ll take for granted…until the struts stop working. The strut mounts play a key role. The mounts are what attach the struts to the body of the car. One end of each mount bolts to the car’s body, while the other end of each mount bolts directly to the strut. But the mounts serve to do more than just act as a connecting body between the struts and the body of the car. They also play a role in the shock absorption process. In between the two ends of the strut mount is a material that provides insulation. As you drive your car over imperfections in the road - such as speed bumps, potholes, and mounds - the car bounces up and down. That pulls on the strut mounts, and then pushes on them. All the while, the insulating mounts absorb that impact, as well as the noise that accompanies it. As a result of these insulating strut mounts, your car doesn’t bounce as much, or make as much noise. That keeps many components in the car from being damaged further, and it makes for a much nicer and calmer driving experience. Trust me on that one. Strut mounts usually have a very long life, and it’s possible that you’ll never need to replace any of yours. But occasionally they do need to be replaced. And any time the struts are replaced, the mounts should be, too.
Pop quiz time. What do you think happens when the strut mounts aren’t doing their job? If you said that there’s more shock and stress on the car, then you would be exactly right. If one of your strut mounts fails, you’ll notice your car vibrating a bit, and altogether not feeling nearly as stable and comfortable as it usually does.
If your car’s suspension system is compromised, then the steering system is liable to be compromised as well. And that’s exactly what might happen if one of your strut mounts decides to put in its two weeks notice. The steering of your car might feel a little loose, as though you don’t have as much control as you would like to have. It also might feel a little bit tight and be a little more responsive than you’re used to. Ultimately, any abnormal steering should always be a giant red flag. Pay attention to your car when it’s giving you warning signals.
Time for your first car lesson: Noises are a bad sign. Noises mean something is wrong. If one of your strut mounts breaks, the struts may rattle around a bit, which will result in a clunking noise any time you drive over a bump in the road, or a pothole.
A damaged strut mount can cause issues to both your suspension and your steering. That, in turn, will cause alignment problems in your car. If your car isn’t properly aligned, you’ll experience uneven wear and tear on your tires, with some of the tires having more wear than others. Look, I don’t care if you don’t know the next thing about cars, but you should try and get in the habit of checking out your tires. Look for low pressure, excessive wear, or bubbles. And look to see if one side is more worn out than the other. If it is, you may have an alignment issue, which could be due to a strut mount problem.
It’s safe to drive your car short distances even if you need a strut mount replaced. But the more you drive on it, the more it will put excess pressure on your suspension, steering system, and tires. Eventually, you’ll end up with a much bigger issue on your hands.
So do the smart thing, and get it replaced.
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